Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Message For You

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Mice

This is my absolute favorite Christmas Treat.  This is another great dish for kids to help you with, though fine motoro skills can be important for certain steps (and you do NOT want to start a holiday tradition of stress and frustration!), so be careful when assigning the different steps to your sous chefs.

Maraschino cherries WITH stems
White chocolate or almond bark for melting
Sliced Almonds
Red piping

Double boiler or similar setup*
Wax paper

*melting white chocolate in a microwave will work, but it is very tricky to get it right and you have to reheat it eventually and it starts to get grainy or lumpy.  If you don't have a double boiler, one large pot with a smaller pot suspended inside it will accomplish almost the same thing, though you do have to be careful cuz you are working with boiling water.  I don't have a double boiler, and worried about burning the white chocolate because my stove top is electric, so I used a glass bowl in the microwave, then set it inside a second glass bowl filled with hot water from the tea kettle.  This worked ok, except I think I might have nuked it a bit too much because it started to get chalky in some spots.  The key is to nuke for 10-15 seconds, then FOLD (not stir) the melty bits into the unmelty bits.

So here are the steps:
1. Drain cherries but do not remove stems
2. Melt white chocolate or almond bark
3. Grasp cherry by stem and dip into white melty stuff, but leave the tail red
4. Lay on wax paper with stem down to the side (like a tail!)
5. Dip second cherry and lay down
6. Return to first cherry you dipped and press in 2 almond slices to make ears and a white chocolate chip to make the 'face'**
7. Repeat steps 3-6 until all cherries have been transformed into an army of Christmas mice
8. Once melty stuff hardens, pipe on 2 little red eyes, and a nose if you're really steady with your hands.

** Depending on the temperature and humidity in your kitchen, you may need to dip several cherries and lay them down before returning to place the ears and noses.  They key is to do the ears/face when the white chocolate starts to get pretty stiff so they don't slide down, but before it hardens, so they still stick.

Be on the lookout for stealthy hands trying to steal your mice!
A Christmas Mouse striking a pose with a Peppermint Brownie

These mice have found their way into a box of brownies! Sneaky mice!

Christmas Mice also go very well with Haystacks